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11/30/2012 9:52:00 AM
St. Rose food drive feeds hungry in NE PDX
St. Rose of Lima Church photo
Streets already canvassed are tracked on a St. Rose Parish map.
St. Rose of Lima Church photo
Streets already canvassed are tracked on a St. Rose Parish map.

On Nov. 17, 200 volunteers from St. Rose of Lima Church fanned out in Northwest Portland neighborhoods to collect donations of non-perishable foods. The effort is just one event in a pre-Thanksgiving to pre-Christmas tradition that begins with approximately 10,000 pounds of food collected in six hours.

Several parish volunteers have been at work since early October, coordinating assignments and donations aimed at filling more than 200 food boxes for delivery to 100 needy families days before Christmas.

 “We want to engage as many of our neighbors as possible to assist with the mission of the St. Rose St. Vincent de Paul Conference,” said volunteer coordinator Lori Bennett.

Bennett’s children are her family’s fourth generation involved in the annual appeal, which started long before her late grandfather, Pat Lyden, became active. Over the years, the drive has grown into a Christmas season tradition for many St. Rose families.

In addition to those gathering food, many other volunteers distributed donation sacks and instructions during the week of Nov. 11. Eighth-grade boys from Archbishop Howard School at St. Rose set up sorting boxes on tables. On the day of the event, about 20 volunteers received and sorted the food for storage in the St. Vincent de Paul Pantry. Others prepared refreshments for the volunteers, and the St. Rose Men’s Club stored the food and cleaned up the collection area.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, many of the same families that gathered the food will deliver it to needy families in the Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully, Rose City Park and Roseway neighborhoods. Non-perishable items will be augmented by fresh meat and produce donations.

 “This is one of our largest parish outreaches reminding us of our obligation to care for less fortunate neighbors,” Father Smith said, adding that the parish and neighborhood are blessed by many people’s generosity and willingness to help.

Families or individuals who need help putting food on the table for Christmas can call St. Vincent de Paul at 503-235-8431.

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